Giving the Raspberries
October 20, 2011, 1:52 pm
Filed under: October 2011

October 20, 2011

     King got another puppy shot today. He is growing well. He now weighs 54 pounds. He grew 15 pounds in just a month. He continues to be a well-mannered dog and good companion to yours truly. He is just playing with Connie, giving her the raspberries, as she took his picture.
     The clouds abound today and sprinkles come and go. The weatherman says we broke the all time record for rainfall in one year….. and we still have over nine weeks of this year to go 😮
     Outside the wind is steady and cold. The dampness chills a man to the bone in a short time. I usually have no trouble knowing how to dress, but these damp, windy fall days test a guy’s knowledge! If I put too many layers on, I’m hot, too few and I’m cold… I guess that is the idea of the layers. Now, if I can just remember to bring them all back in, after I take them off.
     The horses worked good today. The cool weather makes them feel good. There are no flies to swat at or be bitten by. The sun is warm but not relentless and the only sweat that can be seen, is just under the harness. I guess we are all more comfortable working in the cooler temperatures.
     Next year’s strawberries have been planted in the raised beds. I am hoping to get a raspberry bed made, amended and planted yet this fall. The rainy weather seems to have other plans. I guess it can be said that the weather is giving me ………….. “The Raspberries!”          😮

Sun in the Fall
October 18, 2011, 10:51 pm
Filed under: October 2011
Looking northwest

October 18, 2011

     The sun was shining today. We are in between two storm fronts. The rain will move in tonight, but it is good to see the sun. Our summer seemed short due to the rainy spring and rainy late summer. The poor folks in Texas could use a bit of our rain…trust me, we don’t mean to be hogging it all 😮
     We moved animals around to different paddocks today. The goats moved to a nice pasture that has a few extra weeds that need eaten. They were moving right along tonight clipping the noxious offenders as if they were candy from a dish. The little steer in with them munched the white clover. I could almost see him smile as he ate his fill.
     The horses soaked up the sun on their black coats. They know that soon the warm days will give way to the cold and snow of winter. I guess we should all get out and soak up some of the warmth. The wet dreary days will soon return with the dampness that makes baby pigs snuggle in straw and men hunger for a bowl of homemade vegetable soup.
     The harvest waits while the fields try to dry out. The rains just don’t want to recede. The mud is everywhere and ponds and creeks are still full. The weatherman keeps sending us rain, but the sun in the fall, warms a man from the outside in…be patient…all will be well soon.

You guys cold?
October 17, 2011, 9:21 pm
Filed under: October 2011
Piggies looking for a blanket

October 17, 2011

     All this recent wet weather has been rough, but now a cold front has moved in…making us wimps want a blanket 😮 The damp cold has me wearing a hooded sweatshirt for half of the day. The piglets burrow down in the warm straw and cuddle up…and its not even winter yet!
     The gas fireplace feels good for a few hours each night. We run it to take off the chill and to look at the pretty blue flames. It seems funny that only last week it was 80 degrees and this morning it was 42 degrees F. It was a normal October day, but dang where did summer go?
     I worked on some coffee table plans for a couple of pasture sheds for the sheep. They are hardy, but the cold rain, they do not like. The icy freezing rain of late November and December, they detest … just like the rest of us. I am planning to add a couple more shelters to pastures that don’t have any. Usually we don’t use those pastures in winter, but the rains have made for some very nice stock piled grass for the sheep to graze upon this winter.
     I have a material list and thankfully most of the materials needed. I have some willing help, although they don’t know it yet, now all we need is a few dry days. I guess we could work in the rain, but we have been doing that so much this fall we are getting webs between our toes 😮
     I delivered some breeding sheep stock today. The new farmer was pleased, his wife seemed happy and his children are probably still talking about the new additions to their farm. It was a nice trip…farm animals and children belong together.
     I managed to talk with several friends and family members in the last few days. Its funny almost every one of them said … “You guys cold?”  I can’t help but think of the snuggled down little piglets and I just smile … winter is coming.

Hurry up and wait
October 16, 2011, 10:15 pm
Filed under: October 2011
The Harness Room

October 15, 2011

     In the army it was often said that we must “Hurry up and wait.” We would run from one place to get to another, only to have to stand quiet and wait for Lord only knows what. Seems we ran a lot and waited often, so the  description sure did fit.
     I have been working steady to get my knee healed. The physical therapy excercise seem to be working well. I get better each day. The weather continues to be wet and unsettled… so even though I am hurrying to get back at it … I must wait. The weather is probably why I am healing so well. I can’t be out running crazy trying to get the harvest in. I am pretty much held in the house looking out… like all the other farmers in our area.
     The horses and equipment is ready to go. I am almost ready. All we are waiting on is the weather to change. I know it will come. It always has. I guess we all just need to be patient.
     The garden is all done and mowed off. The potatoes are dug and laid out to dry in a dark barn. I would like to plow the garden and seed it to some sort of cover crop like wheat or rye, but that might not happen this year. I may just cover it with manure, when I finally can and let it sit like that all winter.
     I talked with a friend of mine, who lost his whole crop of 9000 pumpkin plants. I watched his children plant them last spring. The plants grew well with lots of pumpkins, but once the pumpkins were harvested, they began to spoil. They turned soft and rotted. Many are laying in the field turning to orange slop. The entire investment is lost. The only good is, that the rotted plants and fruit can be plowed under, returning their nutrients back into the soil.
     I fear that many other growers of farm and produce crops will feel the pain of failure this fall. I can say that though our potato crop was light, we did get enough. Our garden provided very well, in spite of being late planted. Our corn still looks good and continues to ripen and dry down. Picking it may be an issue, but we’ll work through it. I am thankful for what we have been given.
     The drizzle is falling as I write. The saturated soil weeps as the ditches and creeks run high. The colorful leaves have been swept from the trees as the autumn rain washes the earth around us. I rush to heal as the crops ripen, but we farmers, will all just have to ….. Hurry up and wait.

Too Shy
October 14, 2011, 9:47 pm
Filed under: October 2011
Daughter-in-law “R” hiding out

October 14, 2011

     My daughter-in-law, “R”, is very shy around picture-taking time. She is a an attractive gal, so I don’t know what all the fuss is about, but our pictures of her are few. My mom was like that too…and we have very few pictures of her either. I’ll try to work on this, but no guarantees 😮
     My one pasture has eleven former ram lambs in it… they are two shy too 😮
Maybe its just the farm that does that to critters, both two-legged and four-legged. Who knows?
     Today I went to the Lake Erie Draft Horse sale. It was a good day. I could sit quiet, knee tucked out-of-the-way, and watch a whole bunch of nice horses. They came in all sizes, ages and breeds. It was a good sale, despite the rainy start to the day.
     Looks like the sun will be behind the clouds for the next several days. Our rainy forecast continues. I thought is was a weather condition called La Nina, but now I know that it is just that the sun is too shy… It must be the farm 😮

In the blood
October 12, 2011, 7:55 am
Filed under: October 2011
Jake and Heather working Ruby and Duke

October 12, 2011

     My youngest son is about as horse crazy as I am. He was working a pair of our horses in the photo above. His new bride trails behind, thinking she’d make the sled too heavy 😮  She did eventually ride and was quietly amazed at the horse’s strength and grace.
     My love for horses runs deep in my blood. My grandfathers and great grandfathers on both sides of my family were horsemen. My dad was a horse nut too and “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree”, as they say.
     I got my first pony when I was in the second grade. The pony and I spent countless hours together. A year or so later, we got another pony and I had them hitched to a sled by the first snowfall of that year. The ponies were hooked and so was I.
     I got my first draft horse in 1986. There has been no looking back. I did enjoy my ponies before then and had owned several nice teams. The draft horses. however, became my passion. I have owned several nice teams and currently have three terrific geldings that work our farm.
     My sons grew up around the gentle beasts. My oldest, though he likes the farm and garden, is almost fearful of the horses. He is better suited for oxen 😮 They are a little slower and more to his liking. My youngest has enjoyed the horses since his first introduction. He is a good teamster and has the uncanny understanding needed, to communicate with the horses, much like Doctor Doolittle.
     My love for horses is contagious enough, that even my step-sons like the furry beasts. They both were bullriders and the youngest still contests with gaming horses regularly. He even moved to a western state to immerse himself in all things cowboy! We are not blood bound, but are definitely heart bonded.
     I don’t want to think about a life that doesn’t include farm animals. I can make  that statement without hesitation. I will go out a bit further on the limb and say that a day without draft horses is a sad day in my book. I had a short period when I had to choose eating, over having horses. Those few months had me in the dumps, as I struggled with the lack of money and had no horse mane to wipe my tears on.
     There is no question that a love for horses is in the blood. It pleases me that I have passed that love on to many who surround me. Horses and men will come and go, but the love from one to the other, will go on forever.

The Three Loafers
October 10, 2011, 7:49 pm
Filed under: October 2011
Knight, Duke and Hoss

October 10, 2011

    My three horses are loafing while I recover. They seem to be enjoying their life of leisure. Here they are grazing in the farm lane. They even got to clean up a few apples that fell from wild trees. They think they are being rewarded with all the sweet treats!
     I don’t mind them getting to goof off a little bit, but would much prefer to have them hitched to my binder cutting corn. I could at least be shocking corn, but alas the fields are just now dry enough and I am not yet healed. Binding and shocking corn is not a job that just anyone can do.
     I think I will seek out some help from a few of my “horsey” buddies. They could have a fun day here and I would benefit from getting a couple of acres of field corn shocked.
     I do like the shocked corn. The ears store well in the shock and give me a little more room in the corn crib. The fodder makes great bedding. The sheep and cows enjoy eating quite a bit of it. The shocking of corn is an old-fashioned way of doing things and boy, that is right up my alley 😮
     I got the garden mostly ready for winter today. I have a guy coming to dig the potatoes before the rains come again. Once they are dug, the garden can be disced down, fall planted to rye and put to bed for winter.
     I planted strawberry plants today in the raised bed. We got enough for two rows. I have not planted them in the fall before, but expect them to do alright. They look good so far anyway. I was a sight, leaning on one crutch and playing in the dirt, but it felt good to be having my hands in the soil.
     Watching from the porch is not my thing. I do like an occasional nap, but being confined, cooped up or held back, goes against my grain.  I look at the horses and get itchy to hitch them and just go for a wagon ride.
     The work waits, the horses loaf  and I rest up…. the harvest is waiting patiently …. for now 😮